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Stuttgart tops Wiesbaden to stay in playoff hunt

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 29, 2018

STUTTGART, Germany -- The reigning champion Stuttgart Panthers picked up their first conference win of the season Saturday with a 13-7 defeat of the visiting Wiesbaden Warriors.

The win improves Stuttgart to 1-2 in the race for a DODEA-Europe Division I playoff berth and the opportunity to defend its 2017 European championship. The Panthers face Kaiserslautern and winless Vilseck down the stretch of the regular season.

Stuttgart’s defense forced four turnovers in limiting the Wiesbaden offense to a single touchdown. Cam Bochanek, Seiya Murphy and Garrett Sheffield each made an interception, Sergio Rosales recovered a fumble and Sean Smith led all Panther tacklers with 12.

Quarterback Alec Kenfield connected with Gavin Abney for both Stuttgart scores, finishing with 10 completions on 19 attempts and 121 passing yards. Sabriel Ashley hauled in seven catches for 77 yards, while Tito Mercardo paced the Panthers on the ground with 110 yards on 20 rushes.

Josh Blake led the Warriors on both sides of the ball, producing the team’s lone touchdown and tying Smith with a game-high 12 tackles.

The Warriors and Panthers enter the upcoming league-wide bye week with matching 1-2 conference records, landing them in a tie for the fourth and final semifinal berth available to Division I’s six teams.

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